Howard Le Compte Dabson rescued James D. and Vermont Allen and attempted to rescue John H. Allen from burning, Seaview, Virginia, June 18, 1940. While the children were alone in a bedroom on the second floor of a frame house, fire started in the room. The walls and ceiling were ignited, and fire spread through the second floor. From outside the house with a pole Dabson, 26, salesman, tore a screen from the bedroom window and broke the glass from the upper sash of a window below it. He then climbed by means of the lower sill and sash to the top of the projecting window frame. Smoke was dense in the room. Going slightly through the window opening, he got hold of James, 3, and took him to the window. Holding James under one arm, Dabson descended by means of the lower window to the ground. He again climbed to the upper window, went into the room, and got hold of Vermont, 4. He dropped Vermont to the children’s mother, who told him that John, 15 months, was at the far side of the room. Dabson then crawled into the room, squatted to evade flames on the low ceiling, and walked five feet from the window. The floor beyond that point was afire. Dizzy and choked from smoke, Dabson returned to the window and fell to the ground. James sustained serious burns but recovered. John died in the fire, and Vermont died from burns the following day. Dabson sustained a long burn and a cut on one arm and was badly dazed from smoke and bruised from his fall. 38514-3193
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Howard L. Dabson, Sr., 85, died in the Christiana Hospital, Newark, Del., on Aug. 22, 2000. Son of the late Harvey and Mary Dabson, he was born in Wilmington on Dec. 31, 1914. He was a salesman for the W. T. Raleigh Co. for eight years and covered the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
He was awarded the Carnegie Medal for saving children in a house fire in 1941, when employed by Raleigh.
After relocating to Wilmington, Del., he worked as an analytical technician for the DuPont Company’s Newport plant for 35 years, retiring in 1977. Howard was active in the Peniel United Methodist Church congregation for over 50 years and was the oldest member of the Peniel Community Band, where he played the trumpet.
He was a member of the Armstrong Masonic Lodge #26 in Newport. In addition, he was an avid bowler, enjoyed raising and flying homing piegeons, and gardening.
(Edited from an obituary in the News Journal, Wilmington, Del., Aug. 24, 2000.)